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State of 2016 Patriots Roster: QB Tom Brady Still the Best in the League

The New England Patriots can trust their quarterback position for the near future. Tom Brady is coming off a season as a top three quarterback and he should remain in that category in 2016.

Panthers quarterback Cam Newton is a better runner. Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer is better with the deep ball. Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers is better while throwing on the run.

But no quarterback provides better command of an offense than Brady and no one is better able to adapt to a different offensive game plan on a weekly basis.

Player 9/1/16 Age Exp FA FA Type 2016 Cap APY
Tom Brady 39.1 16 2018 UFA $15,000,000.00 $9,000,000.00
Jimmy Garoppolo 24.8 2 2018 UFA $950,154.00 $870,975.00

Brady posted a career high 402 completions on 624 attempts (64.4%) for 4,770 yards, 36 touchdowns, and 7 interceptions. This was arguably the second best season of Brady's career, behind only the 2007 super-season.

The Patriots adapted to the loss of running back Dion Lewis and Julian Edelman in back-to-back weeks, and then to serious knee injuries to Danny Amendola and Rob Gronkowski in the subsequent two weeks.

Brady played behind a rookie or injured interior line for the entire season, as rookies Shaq Mason, Tre Jackson, and David Andrews played heavy snaps. Center Bryan Stork returned from a serious neck injury midseason, while guard Josh Kline's play dropped off a cliff once he injured his shoulder. Next season's pass protection has to be better because it's impossible for it to be worse.

Brady will be 39-years-old for opening week in 2016. It is an extremely short list of quarterbacks to have successful seasons at ages 39 or greater. Per Pro Football Reference's database, there are only six quarterback seasons where a 39+ year old quarterback threw 400+ attempts on the year, and only two of those could be considered above-average years. Brady will have to buck the trend in order to bring the Patriots to another Super Bowl.

Back-up quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo wasn't called upon this season, but the coaching staff remains high on his potential. It's extremely possible that Brady will outlast Garoppolo's contract and that the Patriots could select another quarterback in the 2017 draft (not in this upcoming draft, but the next year).